Me too. Have any of you missed the #metoo campaign that Tarana Burke started 10 years ago and has recently gone viral? Thought not.
I've read so many comments, articles and spoken to so many female friends about this and it breaks my heart how literally everyone I know has not only one story, but several. At first, I didn't think I had any until we mentioned the smaller things that women just let pass because "he was drunk", "he didn't really mean it", "I wore a short dress so I had it coming" etc.
What has happened to me?
I've had stalkers who have managed to obtain my number and message and call me, I've had men slap my ass (and it doesn't matter what I was wearing), I've had men try to kiss me when I clearly said no, I've been grabbed (you could've simply said hi...), I've received highly inappropriate comments about my appearance from male colleagues, I've been followed by cars, being catcalled is a weekly thing, I've ended up at places I didn't want to go to simply because I was scared etc. The list goes on and I know I'm not alone.
Who are these men?
These men are your brothers, uncles, friends, colleagues and sons. They are from every single country and every single age and who on earth knows why they behave the way they do.
Now, I'm not throwing a pity party here. I know men gets abused too but this is OUR campaign. OUR time to share what we are going through and OUR time to make noise.
As women, we are taught to be on guard at all times. We're taught to be careful at the club, on the street, at the gym and even at work. But this crap still happens? At present, if I'm out with my friends I'll be pretty vocal if anyone touches me or a friend - I'll happily push a dude away! I wasn't comfortable doing that when I was younger though, and that makes me incredibly sad. If my very protective boyfriend is with me, he'll do the above for me, but he shouldn't have to - get my point here? Good.
There have been a lot of men writing about #metoo too and I can't for the life of me find the article I read, but a Swedish man wrote a Facebook post about it. He admitted that he had forced himself onto women, he would catcall a random hot woman on the street and not think twice about it, he had done all these things I've just listed and he didn't realise what kind of effect it would have. He said he found #metoo eyeopening and urged his male friends/followers to not argue against it, but to start a conversation amongst themselves and ask why do they do it? He didn't have an answer.
What can I do?
Female: I say this all the time, but share your thoughts and feelings! Comment here, email me, dm me, speak to your friends/family, the worst thing you can do is to keep quiet. Male: Just don't be an idiot*!
*I wrote several nasty words but let's keep things semi-PG
Pictures by Jahied